All information is courtesy of the "47" Alumni Association. We appreciate their research into the history of our school.
In 1906, New York boasted of having three schools for the Deaf. All were residential and all required payment. However, a group of parents wanted their children to return home daily and these parents protested at City Hall, braving a storm. They pled with Mayor George Brinton McCelan to form a public day school for Deaf students. The Board of Education assigned two educators to study this concept, and then approved money for the renovation and repair of a warehouse at 225 East 23rd Street.
The 1865 warehouse was originally Peter Stuyvesant High School, and then became P.S. 40 before becoming P.S. 47 School for the Deaf in 1908. With 47 Deaf students, the building had such poor lighting and accommodations, but the school made do with what it had. Behind the school was a horse stable, and in between the buildings was a playground. Principal Carrie Wallace Kearns wrote to the Board of Education many times requesting a new building.
Finally in 1925, the horse stable on 24th Street was torn down to make way for a new school building. The students and staff moved to this new building, and in 1926, watched as the 1865 building was torn down and rebuilt. Upon completion, the students happily moved back to that side, with a hallway connecting both buildings.
On February 2, 2002, the school was renamed “47” The American Sign Language and English School. Three years later on February 1, 2005, New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein announced his decision to convert the lower and secondary programs into two schools, now called “47” The American Sign Language and English Lower School and “47” The American Sign Language and English Secondary School. The primary reasons for having two schools include better budget control and improved teaching methods.
Today, “47” The American Sign Language and English School is known for its dynamic dual language program taught by Master Teachers in the least restrictive enviornment for our students. We are led by Principal David Thacker Bowell and continue to grow as a community.